Editor’s Note: We’re talking website visits today – not skier visits. (Although the former COULD affect the latter.)
We talk numbers on this website all the time. Most of the time the numbers that we’re talking about are base depths or the depth of new, natural snowfall. Sometimes we’re bragging about how many visitors that our network of SkiSoutheast.com, ResortCams.com and our weather websites receive.
We’re still in sort of a “preseason” mode around the region as some resorts are not open yet and others are opening for the first time this weekend.
So today, I thought that I’d share something that is at least interesting to me. I’ll admit that operating a web development and digital marketing company for the last 18 years has everything to do with my interest in website visitation within the region. You see, I’m privy to how most of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic resort marketing staffers think when it comes to their websites.
In today’s digital world it amazes me to see some of the ski resort websites within our region and in some cases the lack of effort put into using them as a marketing tool. Kenny Griffin and I visit each and every ski resort website within the region, every day of the season. From the first day that a ski area opens each season, to the last day that one is operating – we’re visiting each website daily. So it gives us a unique perspective on who has the best websites in terms of staying up-to-date or providing information that is useful to potential visitors.
Some resorts rarely update their content with the lone exception of their snow report – and even ONE resort has has gone without posting a snow report on their website for four of the last five seasons.
Others, have websites that are vastly outdated and of no real value in terms of pushing people to visit their resorts – rather than their competitors. Some resort websites LOOK awesome, but have almost no value in terms of the traffic that they receive.
Statistically speaking, there are (16) ski resorts in the region (17 if you count Liberty University’s Snowflex Center) and in theory each resort would be fighting for a 6.25% share of ALL of the traffic (people) visiting all of the resort websites in our region.
However, 53.2% of ALL of the internet traffic that is interested in skiing within our region GOES TO THE TOP FOUR RESORTS ON THE LIST BELOW!
So more than ONE-HALF of all of the people visiting all of our resort’s websites within the region – are going to Massanutten Resort, Snowshoe Mountain, The Homestead Resort and Sugar Mountain Resort.
Interestingly TWO of the top four resort websites are located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Only ONE is from the snow and trail-rich state of West Virginia.
For those who are going to email me, let me go ahead and answer your question. As a web development, digital marketing and search engine optimization firm – we have wealth of tools at our disposal, so the numbers below are accurate.
THERE’S GOOD NEWS…KIND OF…
Each and EVERY resort website below saw its HIGHEST traffic EVER within the last month. It seems that more and more people are letting their fingers do the clicking online these days and more than 40% of you are now visiting the websites below on an android, smartphone, iphone or other mobile device. (Many of the websites below are NOT mobile optimized.)
THE WEBSITE RANKINGS BELOW REFLECT THE PERCENTAGE OF TRAFFIC THAT EACH RESORT RECEIVES OF ALL OF THE TRAFFIC TO ALL OF THE RESORTS CUMULATIVELY
MassResort.com – 16.3%
SnowshoeMtn.com – 16.3%
TheHomestead.com – 10.5%
SkiSugar.com – 10.1%
WintergreenResort.com – 9.1%
OberGatlinburg.com – 9.0%
WispResort.com – 6%
BeechMountainResort.com – 4.8%
Cataloochee.com – 4.7%
AppSkiMtn.com – 3.8%
Winterplace.com – 2.8%
CanaanResort.com – 2.1%
SkiWolfRidgeNC.com – 1.6%
BryceResort.com – 1.5%
TimberlineResort.com – 1.4%
SkiSapphireValley.com – 0.003%
The top two most visited websites in the list above pull almost ONE-THIRD of ALL of the traffic monthly!
The top TEN in the list receives over 90% of all of the traffic!
Editor’s Note: Of course the traffic that a resort website receives doesn’t necessarily equate to the actual skier visits that a resort receives. However, it also doesn’t mean that it has NO impact on it either.
The websites above receive around THREE MILLION visits per month. That’s around 12-15 Million visits per season from people who are LOOKING at these ski resorts online. That translates to close to TWO MILLION human beings who end up buying lift passes, skiing and snowboarding at the (16) ski areas within our Southeast and mid-Atlantic region.
You want to figure some economic impact for THOSE peeps!?!?! That’s a story for another day. Suffice to say that West Virginia’s 800,000 skier visits annually contributes an estimated economic impact of $250 million dollars and 5000 jobs.
The North Carolina Ski Areas Association released information a couple of seasons ago that the estimated economic impact from their 671,554 skier visits is around $146 million.
There are no released numbers from Virginia or Tennessee ski areas, but it’s pretty easy to say that the (16) ski areas within the region pull close to TWO MILLION skier visits annually and that those people generate some $500 million in economic impact to the mountain communities that play host to those ski areas.
That’s nearly a HALF A BILLION DOLLARS annually.
The West Virginia Ski Areas Association estimates that their top states in terms of providing skiers and snowboarders to their sloes are from West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Florida.
The NC Ski Areas Association states that close to 50% of their skier visits come from the Tarheel state with the other 50% coming from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama and all points south.
With a HALF A BILLION DOLLARS floating around – I don’t know about YOU guys, but if I were one of the resort owners, GMs or marketing directors within our region – I’d be going HARD after my share of that “pie”.
Check out the FULL SNOW REPORT HERE and feel free to drop me an email with your thoughts and reactions at: [email protected]